Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returns to Afghanistan after 20 years. Who is he?
Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban, and now the undisputed victor of the Afghanistan war, is back in the country after 20 years. In 2001, he was ousted from Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership on Tuesday claimed that he has arrived at Kandahar from Qatar. Abdul Ghani Baradar, as the most public face of the Taliban, is likely to become the new President, reports said. Though Haibatullah Akhundzada is the overall leader of the outfit, Abdul Ghani Baradar has remained the face of the Taliban and his return to the country with the fall of Kabul indicates mobilisation to form the new government.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Abdul Ghani Baradar
1. He was born in 1968, in Uruzgan province of Afghanistan. He fought in the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviets in the 1980s.
2. In 1989, after the Soviets left and the country was torn in civil war, Baradar set up a madrassa in Kandahar with Mohammad Omar. The duo then launched the Taliban movement in 1994 and came to power in 1996. The two men reportedly became brothers-in-law after Baradar married Mullah Omar's sister.
3. He became the deputy minister of defence during the last regime of the Taliban and then following US intervention, he was banished. Pakistan, Saudia Arabia and the UAE had only recognised the Taliban rule.
4. Baradar was arrested by Pakistani authorities from Karachi in 2010 and was in Pakistan custody.
5. In 2018, at the request of the United States, Baradar was released from Pakistan and was relocated to Doha.
6. In February 2020, Baradar signed the Doha agreement with the United States.
7. Then US President Donald Trump had spoken to Baradar on the Afghanistan peace process.
8. Baradar led the nine-member Taliban delegation that was hosted by China in July 2021. China termed the Afghan Taliban as an important military and political force in the country.
9. Reports said Baradar had understood from the five-year regime that the Taliban had to increase popular support and that's why he, in 2009, ordered Taliban foot soldiers to carry a small handbook on how to win the hearts and minds of villagers. This "code of conduct" focussed on reducing civilian casualties.
10. After Sunday's bloodless coup, Baradar issued a message for Taliban fighters and said that the challenge just began as the Taliban would have to govern the country. Some reports said he was present in Kabul, negotiation with Ashraf Ghani, but Taliban spokespersons said he was in Qatar at that time.